Having been an international student

I just read this article on Globe and Mail today and have some thoughts on that.

Why many international students get a failing grade in academic integrity

The article says that many international students face language barriers and some end up with plagiarizing without realizing. Adjusting to Canadian education system is important for them to complete the degree. At the same time, they have to cope with pressure from their parents etc.

There are many opinions on that and you can see them by reading comments. Some said international students are lazy because they are away from home, others think this is downside of multiculturalism. I myself was an international student until recently. I definitely admit that I faced with educational differences and a language barrier during my time at university. However, I think it is not fair to be treated as an international student or something exceptional in terms of grades or exams. I think it is not fair for Canadian students as we both are getting same education.

There are many supports for international students like free workshops at the library or in-person sessions. International students should be more actively engaged in those kind of activities and get the most of it! (even native English speakers attend these workshops and book in-person sessions!)

When I faced a language barrier and felt services from university were not enough or did not meet my schedule, I tried to find a tutor to improve my English (pronunciation and writing). However, it was very difficult to find a tutor who could teach a university level ESL student (who have completed ESL courses and obtained high TOEFL/IELTS score). There are many tutors or schools available for beginner – advanced, however there is no school where they can provide services for university level ESL student. I think the article raises a great point.

It is very fortunate that our mobility has expanded greatly and it is somewhat affordable (well, it is not true, though). However, this makes people less determined and motivated at times. Studying abroad is becoming one of the “requirements” for those who studies English literature or language, international business or something international.

In a way, the article was biased as they did not investigate native students’ failing rate or plagiarizing rate. On top of that, it is hard to measure this because Canada is multicultural society. For example, if you become a Permanent Residence or citizen, you will not be counted as an international student. How about people from English-spoken countries? They are also regarded as an international students. Therefore, I am not sure how much we should trust this article. But it has a point.